Information fluency (IF) a core element of information behaviour and function in game play.
Definition: ability to access, make sense of, and use information to build new understandings.
IF in games = a multimodal form – demands of ‘intertextuality’ of massively multiplayer games – where games navigation, graphics, text, images, icons, holistic quality of entire ‘text’ influences access to and interpretation of relevant information.
- tools embedded within – afford variety of action and goals…provide information visually, via text, and other iconographic representations
- players negotiate complex array of resources
- players interpret varying messages (Schrader & Lawless, 2010).
Educators need to provide meaningful experiences (Squire, 2008) to foster this IF. Schools facing crisis of engagement. Selection of games to learn through can create ‘centres of expertise’ (Squire, ibid, p. 249).
“Complexity of today’s gaming marketplace makes it difficult to know which games might be worth the long term experiment with.” For teachers, issue of time to commit themselves and students.
Brown & Kasper(2103) argue games can be fused with library agendas – posed 3 questions in order to investigate how games affect reading, learning achievement, information literacy and library use (p.756):
- what do participants in a library’s video game program learn?
- how do library gaming programs assess participants?
- what steps can programs take to improve their assessment?
Need to consider:
- the identities that potential players have already constructed before playing a game
- the type of knowledge networks players have a working knowledge of, & can activate technically & culturally…This supports Gee (2003, p.14) that literacy must go beyond print to include different domains of social practice.
- differences of platforms ie. mobile and tablet
Choice of games to play with students:
see Bidarra et al., (2013) framework – argue that mobile devices particularly representative of personal learning environments (PLE). List of functions that support knowledge creation and communication in a PLE:
- Access/search for information and knowledge;
- Aggregate and scaffold by combining information and knowledge;
- Manipulate, rearrange and repurpose knowledge artifacts;
- Analyze information to develop knowledge;
- Reflect, question, challenge, seek clarification, form and defend opinions;
- Present ideas, learning and knowledge in different ways and for different purposes;
- Represent the underpinning knowledge structures of different artifacts and support the dynamic re-rendering of such structures;
- Share by supporting individuals in their learning and knowledge;
- Networking by creating a collaborative learning environment.
“…where learners learn more from collaboration with both their teacher and others”.
Learning can take place, or can be used to fuse learning experiences into other classroom activities within: (underlines need to expand popular conceptions of digital media, knowledge and information fluency.)”
- Edutainment Games
- Serious Games
- Location Aware Games
- Global Reach Games
- Traditional and Casual Games
- Shooting and Action Games
- Adventure Games
- Role-Playing Games
- Strategy Games
- Simulation Games
- Modeling Games
- Programming Games
- Massively Multiplayer Online Games
- Virtual Worlds
- Layered Reality Games
De Freitas and Oliver (2006) put forward the kinds of questions to consider when thinking of introducing games – and simulation-based learning, started with some basic questions:
- Which game or simulation to select for the specific learning context?
- Which pedagogic approaches to use to support learning outcomes and activities?
- What is the validity of using the chosen game or simulation?
With relatively few games being used in mainstream education, taking a stance on developing media literacy, digital identify and information fluency might still be regarded by many as peripheral. Arguably, those who view games in this way are yet to identify with them socially, personally or professionally.
Games and game-based learning, like other forms of learning with technology, requires educators and trainers to evaluate them in the context of the scholarship of teaching, rather than entertainment or novelty. De Freitas & Oliver (2006) say effective use of games employs
pedagogy that uses reflection and debate around the different knowledge systems that learners encountered as a means of resolving the problem of ‘transferring’ learning. Rather than assuming, in some simplistic way, that things learnt in one context could just be taken and used elsewhere, they argue that such knowledge needs to be re-created for use in new settings.
“Games require players to construct knowledge, identity and communication skills which are mostly represented as entertainment. However, using these, and other frameworks and case studies, educators can build a strong case that knowledge construction is an essential part of modern game-play and game culture. The question many are trying to resolve is not what games are or do, but what exactly does education want from games?”
What efforts and approaches have you attempted so far in using games to improve information literacies among students? Are there any in this article (Meegan & Limpens, 2010) which would be relevant to your context?
So far I have started with small steps to use game to improve information literacies for my upper elementary students. I have used scavenger hunts as a tool for library orientation, digital games for digital citizenship, a website evaluation game for the year 5 classes. I have not created the digital games but have sourced them from the web. I am also planning to use games such as Kahoot and Quizzlet with my classes. I would love to jump into Minecraft or similar multiplayer game. Certainly, it is what I would like to aim towards.
As the authors state, the challenge is to motivate students to acquire information skills, so they can not only use these skills but keep looking for new tips and tricks on information retrieval (ibid, p.271). They also comment on how visualisation ‘easily gets their attention’ (ibid, p. 272). I have used videos and visual techniques and approaches e.g. YouTube, BrainPop, sketchnoting. I have been conscious of providing resources to support differentiation i.e. students with English as another language, dyslexic and students requiring learning support. While I am not ‘quite there’, I do feel that visual techniques and gaming can help with improving information literacies among a wide variety of students.
One of the comments concerning the evaluation of student’s ability to find and use relevant information sources is pertinent. Too often class/course assignments (regardless of the educational level) do not even consider the process as part of the evaluation. A catch 22 – if students achieve these skills and strategies, then it would be evident within the final product. However, bypassing the process, the anectodal evidence is not there. At tertiary level, as the authors’ comment “Librarians are challenged to integrate the explanation and the understanding of what has been explained – the learning as such – in one single moment. Therefore the explanation and the exercises need to be integrated as much as possible” (ibid, p. 284). It is as true in the K-12 educational setting.
If time permitted, I would do a pre-test to show what students know about the specific website information literacy skills before they start the game and a post-test afterwards (ibid, p. 276). However, it is envisaged that the Kahoot quiz game will be the post/evaluative test.
I think I would also like to see students create a product themselves to share their understandings. Again, time is an issue.
Meegen, A. van, & Limpens, I. (2010). How serious do we need to be? Improving information literacy skills through gaming and interactive elements. LIBER Quarterly, 20(2), 270–288.